New York 1984
Week 10, Back into Battle
When we left our heroes last time, Cantrel had just slipped and fallen through a railing around a stairwell. Three gunmen had shown up. Correction: Sleeves had NOT shown up ... yet.
Several things happen more or less at once. Daewen lofts on her flying belt, Pfusand shoots at one of the gunmen with laserifle, and Cantrel, assured telepathically by Alag that he (Alag) will catch him (Cantrel) with TK, opens fire as he falls and takes return fire.
Alag then tries to follow through on his promise, but finds that his TK fails. Given how good Alag is, that's VERY odd and suggests interference of some kind. By now (a fraction of a second later), Cantrel has fallen out of sight, so no one else can TK him if he can't TK himself. So Tom materializes a rope of ectoplasm (green), and throws it after Cantrel.
Cantrel grabs the rope, resolutely ignoring the fact that it is made of air and good will. Unfortunately, Cantrel weighs more than Tom can hold up. Tom is jerked toward the brink himself. And he can't use TK, having thrown all his energy into the rope. So, before anyone reasonably massive like Pfusand can grab it, Lorelei snatches it from Tom's hands. She DOES manage to hold Cantrel for a few moments, then slips on whatever he slipped on, drops the rope, and starts over the precipice herself.
Chris TKs the end of the rope and binds it in mid-air. Cantrel, of course, is getting flung about by all this. He hits the railing of the next course down on the spiral stair, which snaps off and becomes entangled around his feet.
Meanwhile, the gunmen have starting firing at Pfusand and Alag. (Tom takes this relative lull to wonder why his ectoplasm always comes out green if he doesn't specify otherwise. "Wasn't your nimbus green when you were a Deryni?" Chris suggests over the telepathy net. And, on the far side of Chris's mind, Sophie can be heard thinking in an undertone, "Aren't all icky things green?" Sophie doesn't like ectoplasm.)
NOW Sleeves shows up. Lorelei, who was clawing her way back over the ledge, suddenly turns silvery and falls off. Onto Cantrel. He TKs her out of the way, but not before she snarls the rope and snaps it. Cantrel manages to pull himself onto the stairs, complete with fragments of railing around his feet.
Daewen flits into the midst of the stairwell and fires twice at Sleeves, who dodges both shots. She then retreats as Pfusand opens fire on Sleeves next. He turns translucent and the laser goes through him.
Cantrel has a bead on one of the gunmen from below. He opens fire and gets shot back at. The gunman misses Cantrel but hits the elderly ironwork flooring. Cantrel falls through, but manages to catch himself. Above, he hears something clanking down the stairs toward him.
Daewen takes a nasty shot in mid-air, slams into the wall, and falls to the ground unconscious. You can't do that to Alag's grandmother safely, and he takes out the gunman with an enchanted arrow. (Enchanted arrows versus blasters? Yes, yes, but it isn't the first time.)
His second arrow, however, sticks to the bow string. At least the tail does. It breaks in two. Alag flicks his psilencer on and the tail falls off the string. He opens psi and the tail leaps back on. growl This is a binding. He unbinds it. And all of the arrows fly out of his quiver.
Chris, meanwhile, takes out a second gunman, while a third reels under fire and falls. No gunmen left. Tom tries to cast a confusing Glamour around Sleeves but muffs it and merely emits a show of Disney-dust. So Chris lobs a psilence grenade at Sleeves, throwing him into psilence. Or it should. It sort of sticks in place instead of bouncing, so maybe it didn't go off but got caught by TK. Also, Sleeves remains translucent, but then maybe he isn't exactly "there," or maybe psilence would merely keep him from changing state. We aren't familiar with that trick.
Cantrel has clambered down to the next level of the stairs and freed his feet. The clattering down the stairs continues and reveals itself to be Lorelei, still silvery, that is still in stasis, rolling toward him. She crashes into him.
Upstairs, Sleeves vanishes. With a little help from Pfusand, Daewen comes to and mumbles "Even the WALLS are on their side..." Pfusand leaves her to go strip an unconscious gunman. Passing Alag, a loop of rope from the ex-Naza's pack tangles the elf's sword. Also he drops all his arrows that he was picking up. We begin to suspect that he has had a spell or something put on him. He flicks on his psilencer.
Cantrel, meanwhile, has fallen off the stairs again and finally hits the bottom, where there is dirt and a shallow stream. Lorelei comes clattering down the steps a few seconds later. This time, he side-steps her, but stops her before she rolls into the river. He then looks around and finds the gunman who fell off, now floating down the river. He pulls the fellow back with TK and finds him unconscious.
Tom pauses to investigate the slippery floor, but it feels and looks perfectly normal. Alag retrieves the psilence grenade. We loot the gunmen and find precious little besides their blasters and a few clips of batteries. Tom examines the blasters and finds them only slightly futuristic from his own vantage-point in time (24th century). So we may be dealing with a mixed lot of time travelers with one (Sleeves) probably dating from some time later than the 31st century, since his tricks are unfamiliar to Chris.
We take our prisoners down the stairs, where Cantrel and Alag tie them to a chunk of railing. Alag tries to levitate the railing. To do this, he has to turn off his psilencer. He gets hit in the pocket by the grenade, which goes off on impact and envelopes him in psilence again. Odd. He takes it out, returns it to Tom, who resets it, and tries to levitate the rack of prisoners again. He levitates himself instead.
Savoring the ambient psi delicately with his clairvoyance, Alag feels himself to be unlucky. Chris and Tom join in and agree. There is something like Bound or Patterned Dicing hanging around the elf. Daewen looks the situation over and pronounces the effect to be psychic, of later vintage than ourselves, a tough and intelligent "spell." Wee.
Nor does Lorelei come out of stasis when we put her in psilence. Humph.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.